During lunch yesterday, watching YES, I saw Mike Francesa take a call on WFAN where the person calling wanted to discredit Mets G.M. Omar Minaya. The caller’s point was that Minaya’s only skill was spending money – and lots of it – on guys like Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Billy Wagner, Johan Santana, etc. Further, the caller said that anyone could target the best Free Agents on the market and just throw tons of bucks at them.
Francesa’s answer on this was interesting. He said that the Mets had been burned in the past playing the spending game. (Here, I assume he meant during the days of Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray, Vince Coleman, Bret Saberhagen, etc.) And, Francesa said that the Mets Fred and Jeff Wilpon had decided that it was better to built from within than to play that game again. However, as Francesa continued, Omar Minaya came along and convinced the Mets that you cannot take the time and lumps associated with building from within when you’re in New York – and that spending was the thing to do….and, once the Wilpons agreed, Omar was just doing what’s needed to do in order to win in this town.
The more I thought about this, I began to think back to the Yankees from 1989 through 1992. Talk about taking lumps! Those Yankees teams stunk. But, while that was happening, the core of Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera and Posada were getting their work in down in the minors. And, by 1996, the Yankees were rolling again.
But, the question still remains for me: Is it worth it, to have a team that does not excel for…say…three or four years, in order to have one down the line that does and which was built from within? Or, in New York, does it make more sense to “play for today” and spend, spend, spend, your way to the top?
Of course, part of the problem with the latter approach is that you can’t just spend for the sake of spending – and you need to spend wisely. If you go out and spend $86 million on Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa, is that really helping your team?
But, I’m not sure that having your team finish in third place – like the Yankees will this year – or worse, for three or four years in a row (and not making the post-season) is going to help a G.M. keep his job in New York either.
What do you think about all this? Are you O.K. with the Yankees doing what it takes to stick to the plan of building from within – even if it means missing the post-season for the next few years? Or, do you want them to spend money this off-season to try and win now?